A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Hard work is more important than anything. Determination helps you get through tough times.
Positive Role Models
Costain exemplifies know-how and hard work. He inspires confidence as he teaches his workers.
Violence & Scariness
Villains cause a deliberate stampede that threatens buildings and people and could end Henrietta's fledgling cattle business. A witch doctor throws spears at someone he doesn't like. He casts a spell on workers and one falls ill until the spell is reversed. Punches are thrown. Cattle are dragged out to sea one by one for shipping to California.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Castaway Cowboy is a 1974 Disney Western that's set in Hawaii. Kids may enjoy watching grownups learn the difficult skills of roping and herding, much of it featuring acrobatic stunt work. A young boy takes to the stranger found nearly dead in the surf. After the boy and his mother rescue the man, the man proceeds to rescue the family farm. Grit and determination are on display here, and the only quitting time is when it gets too dark or the dinner bell rings. Villains cause a deliberate stampede that threatens buildings and people and could end Henrietta's fledgling cattle business. A witch doctor throws spears at someone he doesn't like. He casts a spell on workers and one falls ill until the spell is reversed. Punches are thrown. Cattle are dragged out to sea one by one for shipping to California. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an entertaining story that gets its biggest boost from the charisma and star power of James Garner as the confident Costain. With a nod to the movie Shane (that also featured an impressionable young boy and the mysterious stranger who comes to help), The Castaway Cowboy may attract kids who can relate to young Booton. The boy instantly idolizes the stranger and sizes him up as new husband material for his widowed mother.
The movie also spends more time on the trade craft and ins and outs of cattle herding than the average Western. The fact that Hawaiian vistas provide a beautiful backdrop doesn't hurt, either. And when Costain teaches his crew to sing "Come a Ki-yi Yippy Yippy Yay," it seems the education of the locals is complete. Note that the process of swimming bulls through the sea to load them onto a waiting cargo ship may seem insensitive to animal welfare.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.